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Tony Coe, Director of Research for Employment Branding at IBM Kenexa

Tony Coe, Director of Research for Employment Branding at IBM Kenexa

By Tony Coe

In this new era of computing, technology is important but it’s not everything. The real cornerstone of any successful social business is creating an environment where employees feel comfortable and are empowered to share expertise and best practices with their colleagues across organizational barriers, both geographical and hierarchical.

Consider this, according to the Bersin Report’s The Science of Fit, people-focused businesses generate 26 percent more revenue per-employee and had 40 percent lower turnover rates. This stat says a lot about an organization’s culture versus its technology. In order to build a social environment of transparency and trust in which employees feel empowered, here are four steps every organization should consider.

  • First, conduct an assessment of your culture and measure the level of engagement within your organization. Are employees collaborating, sharing ideas and tagging their expertise without being prompted? How are they collaborating with each other, which tools seem to be the most popular or effective throughout the enterprise for sharing information? Knowing the power of analytics, use these insights to determine what stage of social your organizational culture is starting at.

  • Second, listen, give and get feedback based on the culture and engagement research. Home in on what’s really driving engagement, what’s working for your employees, what do they feel most comfortable sharing and how? If social is already taking place, how can it be improved?

SP Social Culture April 16 2013

  • Next, educate. Show your employees how to effectively use the new social and analytic tools now at their disposal to better do their jobs. It’s not about adding steps to processes or creating extra work. Social is about seamless integration so that employees recognize that sharing their expertise and collaborating across the enterprise is imperative to doing their job effectively and driving business value. Provide them with the resources they need to effectively take advantage.
  • Finally, take action. Maybe you’ve identified that communities are the tool of choice for engaging with employees. Use that tool to communicate a future vision for the organization that helps employees know where we are headed and what’s in it for them. Inspire the trust in leadership that encourages them to collaborate. Whatever the reasons, take action around these areas to further drive employee engagement and shape a socially connected culture.

When an organization thoroughly assesses the state of their culture it becomes poised for social business success. A culture that promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration across all departments and levels enables current employees to drive innovation and business value and attracts new employees who are looking for an opportunity to make a difference in any role.

Yes, the tools you choose will affect the success of your social business transformation, but don’t underestimate the impact of culture. Organizations that invest in culture will reap significant rewards on their journey to becoming a social business and it all starts with your employees.

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